Seattle Layoff Update: Targeted Genetics, Wetpaint, Google, and Others Cut Staff

7/27/09Follow @gthuang

Don’t let this summer heat wave fool you. It’s still bitterly cold in job land. Despite Wade’s optimistic report this morning on local companies with open positions, a lot of Seattle-area tech and life sciences firms are still heading in the opposite direction. In the past month, we’ve seen layoffs, big and small, across the software and biotech industries.

Here are a few that we’ve heard about (you can view our updated list of layoffs since June 2008 here):

—Internet search giant Google has laid off a “large number” of contractors and full-time employees at its offices in Seattle and Kirkland, according to reports in Examiner.com and WebGuild Silicon Valley. Google did not reply to e-mails requesting comment.

—Seattle-based social publishing startup Wetpaint laid off 15 employees, or 27 percent of its staff, leaving the company with about 40 people. A Wetpaint spokesperson confirmed the news, saying, “The ad market continues to be tough and the long tail seems to be taking the brunt of it.” The layoff was first reported by TechFlash.

—Redmond, WA-based Sampa, a small Internet startup focused on helping families create websites, announced it is closing down as of Aug. 17. Founder Marcelo Calbucci said the company ran out of money and its business models didn’t work out.

—Targeted Genetics (NASDAQ: TGEN), a Seattle-based developer of gene therapies, said it is cutting more than half of its workforce by the end of this month in an effort to survive into August. The biotech firm said it would be down to 10 to 15 employees, as compared with 35 on May 1. On Friday, Targeted Genetics said it has amended its lease to get a reduced rate through August.

—Two Seattle institutions, RealNetworks and Vulcan, laid off a small percentage of workers in June. RealNetworks cut fewer than 10 positions in its media software group, while Paul Allen’s Vulcan cut 17 employees in its technical department. The news was reported by TechFlash here and here. Both firms are coming off of larger layoffs last winter; Real cut 130 positions (39 in Seattle) in December, while Vulcan laid off 50 in January.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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